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Has anyone else noticed that Brandon League has been absolutely lights out coming out of the bullpen this season?

Well, he has. Trust me. League struggles when he's coming out of the dugout.

League has appeared in 23 games this season. Here's what he's done in that first inning, when he arrives at the mound directly from the bullpen.

BULLPEN       IP    H    R   ER   HR   BB   SO     BF
        18.2  12    5    5    1    6    14    72

That's a 2.41 ERA, and League has been scored on in his initial inning just three times in those 23 games.

But when he sits down in the dugout, watches his team hit, and then goes back out to the mound... that's when his troubles begin. That's happened in 8 of those 23 appearances, and the results have been ugly. And it doesn't matter how many batters he faced in his first inning or how many pitches he threw.

DUGOUT       IP    H    R    ER    HR  BB   SO       BF
    7.2   14   11    11    1    2    8       38
That's a 12.91 ERA - he's been scored upon in four of those eight games and had exactly one clean inning.

OK, I'm off to the Dome. Be nice to see if the Jays can beat one of these second division teams...
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jgadfly - Sunday, June 14 2009 @ 12:44 PM EDT (#201322) #
Brandon also seems to have a problem with an 0-2 gopher ball .
Magpie - Sunday, June 14 2009 @ 01:23 PM EDT (#201323) #
I, like many of us, have a problem with the 0-2 gopher ball. But that's the only 0-2 homer League has given up in his major league career.

Yes, I checked. You think I have a life or something?
Richard S.S. - Sunday, June 14 2009 @ 01:57 PM EDT (#201325) #
So as the prospective cat's dinner, who bells the cat, and tells Cito?
Moe - Sunday, June 14 2009 @ 02:22 PM EDT (#201326) #
Talk about fun with small sample sizes!

I wonder whether Tallet hit the wall or whether this is just one of those games? Just glad I didn't go to the game. Would be so depressing. First on Friday my winning streak ends at 5 (and of course Doc's injury) and then getting whipped on Sunday by the Marlins. Is it just me or do the Jays actually play worse against the NL than against the AL East?

Magpie - Sunday, June 14 2009 @ 03:40 PM EDT (#201327) #
Put the hex on that pretty good...

Uh, B.J. Ryan is moving up the depth chart. Completely by default.
Chuck - Sunday, June 14 2009 @ 03:59 PM EDT (#201328) #

That list of trustworthy relievers is certainly shrinking. Can't be too long now that Gaston begrudgingly makes Frasor Downs' official caddy.

WIth Janssen scuffling an with Tallet possibly entering into mid-season dead armedness, I wonder if one of them mightn't return to the pen someetime soon, though I imagine the team will want to sort out Halladay's status before deciding who Cecil might be replacing, if anyone at all.

jgadfly - Sunday, June 14 2009 @ 04:03 PM EDT (#201329) #

My apologies ... my memory just ain't what it used to be when I  ... ?  

I was remembering your May 5th posting of File and Forget but I forgot to forget .  Maybe I just 'misremembered'.  It seems to be going on alot around here .

Anyways I won't mention the May 4th game vs Cleveland, 9th inning , 2 out , 1 on, 0-2 changeup to Cabrera who ... singled .  The gutting just made it seem like a homerun.

Let's just refile and remember to forget  this time ...  now what were we discussing ?

Thomas - Sunday, June 14 2009 @ 04:45 PM EDT (#201330) #

All hail Dirk Hayhurst, who will soon become the new setup man, or at the very least bridge to the setup man. He's already shooting past everyone on the depth chart except for Frasor and Downs.

brent - Sunday, June 14 2009 @ 07:29 PM EDT (#201331) #

First, this was too long between "This Day in Baseball" threads; it was nearly a week. I have been waiting a couple of days to comment, and I am not going to bother doing it on a thread that no one is reading anymore- it has already been pushed off the front page. If you want people to stay on topic, you have to keep up with the threads. There wasn't even one for Doc's injury.

Well, it looks like the team is going to make it an easy decision for JP to not be a buyer at the trade deadline. This team could be below .500 by then the way things have been going lately. The interesting thing is that the team has only had one bad stretch of ten games so far according to Cito's ten game breakdowns.







This current 10 game set looks to maybe be the second losing one.

Speculative theory one: this team needs Travis Snider (as soon as he is healthy). Having an extra power threat in the number 9 hole really doesn't let a pitcher rest through the lineup. This team has won and won and won when Snider has been up here. Since they sent him down, the results have not been that good, and they were not that good last year when he wasn't here.

Speculative theory two: Vernon Wells is still recovering his power from that wrist injury last year. Just like it took forever for Overbay to recover his power, Vernon is missing his. Vernon needs to (in my opinion) take up a lighter bat and try to hit line drives (doubles power). He also needs to lose weight to be a little faster on center field defense and baserunning or even legging out an extra infield hit here or there. If you go to Vernon's Fangraphs' page, you can see that he is only seeing three pitches an at bat (on average). He needs to work the count more. He isn't hitting fastballs as well as he used to because he is swinging at more pitches outside the strikezone (thereby expanding the zone and making tougher for him to hit). Cito has even said that Vernon is starting late against pitches, but we all know he is sitting dead red on fastballs. This season, Vernon has had negative value out there (according to Fangraphs). These changes could at least help him out a little.



tercet - Sunday, June 14 2009 @ 08:29 PM EDT (#201332) #
JP needs to slap Cito and give him a dose of reality in regards to his stubborness.  This season is in the most is preparing for next year, hence we need Snider to play get AB's vs LHP and RHP.
Moe - Sunday, June 14 2009 @ 08:37 PM EDT (#201333) #
The interesting thing is that the team has only had one bad stretch of ten games so far according to Cito's ten game breakdowns.

However, according to that measurement the team also hasn't had a great stretch either. If you have 1-9 and 2-8 streches, you also need 9-1s.
92-93 - Sunday, June 14 2009 @ 09:27 PM EDT (#201334) #
"He needs to work the count more."

No, he needs to start hitting up to his capabilities. Nobody was complaining last year when he hit .406/.411/.797 on the first pitch.
greenfrog - Sunday, June 14 2009 @ 10:36 PM EDT (#201335) #
The Jays could be significant players at the deadline, if teams are interested in Rolen, Scutaro, Overbay, Barajas, or maybe a starter like Richmond or Tallet. I guess Doc could be in play, too, if the Jays decide to radically change course (which seems unlikely). The worst possible scenario IMO would be trading veterans for a minimal return simply to dump salary (unless we're talking about Vernon's contract)--which, given Rogers Inc.'s recent penny-pinching ways, wouldn't altogether surprise me.
Oxygen8 - Sunday, June 14 2009 @ 10:38 PM EDT (#201336) #
just read an intriguing article on Roy Halliday..........
brent - Sunday, June 14 2009 @ 11:06 PM EDT (#201337) #
92-93, my point is that he is physically unable right now to hit up to his abilities. My argument is that he doesn't have his power. His Hr/AB rate is the lowest of his career. He can't do it.
slitheringslider - Sunday, June 14 2009 @ 11:49 PM EDT (#201338) #
Vernon Wells looks completely lost both at the plate and on the field. Him continually waving at breaking balls outside of the zone makes me cringe. But more alarmingly, all the spectacular catches that we use to seeing him bounce off his glove. Is it just me or does everytime he get to the ball but drop it everytime. Has his hand-eye coordination deteriorate or something? Something is just not right with him and I hope he works it out.
Magpie - Monday, June 15 2009 @ 07:06 AM EDT (#201341) #
Everyone seems to have missed it, but Wells made a tremendous defensive play on Saturday. B.J. Ryan's last pitch in the seventh, to Baker. He hit it to the scoreboard wall in left centre. Wells was shading him slightly to right field (it is now assumed that even ordinary LH batters can pull Ryan) and had to cover an enormous distance to get to the ball. I don't think Rios makes that play if he's in CF.
The_Game - Monday, June 15 2009 @ 07:11 AM EDT (#201342) #
You want to know the worst part about falling back down to earth as expected....the Halladay trade talk (whether it makes sense or not) will begin again. Opposing fans and media members are vultures.
The_Game - Monday, June 15 2009 @ 07:29 AM EDT (#201343) #
Purcey had a good start yesterday. If he has a few more like that, there really isn't anything to lose anymore by throwing him out there in place of one of our struggling starters sooner or later. Give him a half season to see if he can build his confidence at this level. If he can, we might actually have something with him.
chris_jays - Monday, June 15 2009 @ 09:47 AM EDT (#201344) #
Couple Comments:

1) Why are Jesse Carlson and Kevin Millar on this team. I can't fathom a reason as to why Carlson hasn't been sent down to vegas yet.

2) It's funny how perceptions change. Read this quote in the paper today, "After surging out of the gate in April, the Jays have been a mediocre team and are now just one game better than they were after 65 games last year, just a week before John Gibbons was fired and replaced by Gaston. "

Funny how everyone hated what Gibbons did last year and how cito gets lots of praise this year for his work.

Also curious how Cito managed to get a 2 year / 4M contract when he hadn't received a job offer in 12 years.

chris_jays - Monday, June 15 2009 @ 09:51 AM EDT (#201345) #
So how does the bullpen depth chart look now.

I'm thinking

1) Downs
2) Frasor
3) Ryan
4) Camp
5) League
6) Hayhurst
7) Carlson


Ryan Day - Monday, June 15 2009 @ 12:42 PM EDT (#201348) #
I'm thinking: Send Carlson & Janssen to AAA. Put Tallet back in the pen. Bring up Cecil and Purcey or Mills for the rotation.
China fan - Monday, June 15 2009 @ 12:49 PM EDT (#201349) #

Also curious how Cito managed to get a 2 year / 4M contract when he hadn't received a job offer in 12 years.

Okay, here we go. The predictable anti-Cito voices, who had been invisible for the past 12 months, are coming out of the woodwork.  In this case, the argument seems to be: if nobody offered Cito a job as manager, obviously he must be a bad manager.  (Note the factual error in the attack -- it's actually untrue to say that Cito didn't have job offers.  He had tons of job offers as coaches etc, he just didn't have an offer as manager, and so he declined all the many job offers because he preferred to be a manager.)

Here are two of the many points that the anti-Cito crowd are ignoring:  1) over the past 12 months, Cito has a much better winning percentage than Gibbons did;  2) he's kept the Jays in contention this season when his rotation and bullpen have been devastated by injuries, departures, etc.  He's doing it without Marcum, without McGowan, without Litsch, without Burnett, without a healthy Ryan, with injuries to Romero and Janssen, etc, etc.   And the Jays are still within 3 games of the wild card.


Noah - Monday, June 15 2009 @ 01:01 PM EDT (#201350) #
Ryan, I'd generally agree with your thoughts but (correct me if Im wrong) but I don't think Tallet's splits against lefties has been all that great.  In which case he is not really an adequate replacement for Carlson as the LOOGY.  I would keep Tallet in the rotation (give him one more start ), demote Janssen and Carlson and call up Cecil and David Romero (who has long been due for another chance in the majors).
Moe - Monday, June 15 2009 @ 01:03 PM EDT (#201351) #
However, under Gibbons the team underperformed and it is not clear whether that was bad luck or Gibbons. Probably a combination. So you can't simple take the winning percentage.
It seems Cito is a great coach and the players seem to like him BUT some of his in game management has been questionable (rarely uses a PH, bullpen management etc). Of course Gibbons was far from perfect in that respect but I would argue he was better at that part of the job. Now do I want Gibbons back? Not really, but Cito has plenty of room for improvement as a manager which probably explains why he was only offered coaching and not manager jobs.

And even if you're a Cito lover the question how he could get 4million/2 years (which is in the ballpark of what Mike Scioscia got until his big extension this year) is a fair one.

Ryan Day - Monday, June 15 2009 @ 01:05 PM EDT (#201352) #
I don't think Tallet needs to be a LOOGY - he's much more valuable as a long-man, something the Pen really doesn't have. You can use BJ as more of a LOOGY, and always bring Downs in slightly earlier if necessary.
John Northey - Monday, June 15 2009 @ 01:42 PM EDT (#201353) #
The pen is interesting.  Downs/Frasor are clearly the 1-2 punch.  After that...
Camp seems to be the #3 guy with League getting lots of chances to play out of that role as well.  Carlson was #2 for awhile but is probably a loogy right now.  Hayhurst is the wild card as he was used all over the place (starter, long man, short man, etc.) in AAA with not so good results, but has 5 2/3 shutout IP with 4 hits 4K's and no walks (but 2 HBP).  Can't help but cheer him on, but odds are against him being more than a 4th man out of the pen.

League and Carlson both have better than 2-1 SO-BB ratios, both allow 1 or less HR per 9 IP, but both have sucked for end results.  Should be interesting to see if they both turn it around while keeping the same SO-BB and HR/9 stats.

Geoff - Monday, June 15 2009 @ 02:22 PM EDT (#201354) #
As the season spirals into the worst ever for Vernon Wells, have we noticed that Vernon is batting .152 at home and .319 on the road?(OPS-wise, that's .491 vs. .831 for the richest man in team history)   Well, he's got a six-game road trip to get things in order before a nine-game homestand, followed by a ten-game road trip, and then a nine-game homestand.

Any predictions on how closely Vernon will follow his established splits this year for home/away? He also has a baffling .535 OPS vs. southpaws to contrast his blistering .705 vs. northpaws.

In conclusion, the Jays need to try making Vernon feel less at home in Toronto. They kind of need him to turn those numbers around before they grow beyond 'small sample size'.   I'd try:
  • move the team to the visitor's clubhouse and ban Toronto fans from the building. 
  • make the team keep the road trip routine going full time;
  • forfeit the last at-bat advantage during home games; let the visitors have it.

92-93 - Monday, June 15 2009 @ 03:10 PM EDT (#201355) #
"Everyone seems to have missed it, but Wells made a tremendous defensive play on Saturday."

Wow, I guess watching Vernon for 2+ months now on a daily basis has really lowered your standards for "tremendous" defense. That was a play that any CF with moderately good range makes. His play in CF this season has been nothing short of disgusting.
Mike Green - Monday, June 15 2009 @ 03:12 PM EDT (#201356) #
Vernon Wells' problem in 2009 so far is a familiar one.  Here is his THT card.  The key columns are BABIP, IF/Fly and HR/fly.  Wells in 2009 has perfectly normal W/K data, which for a player of his strength would normally result in a very good seasonal line.  The problem is that his IF/fly rate of 17.8% is over triple his HR/fly rate of 5.1.  The result is a horrible BABIP of .249 and a poor seasonal line.  This was the identical problem that he had in 2007.  In 2006 and 2008, his IF/fly was lower (but still high) and about equal to his HR/fly rate; his BABIP was in the .290-.300 range and he put up decent numbers.

It could be loss of strength arising from the injury, a change in the swing due to the injury or an unrelated mechanical issue.  Gene Tenace has a job to do...
Magpie - Monday, June 15 2009 @ 05:11 PM EDT (#201361) #
That was a play that any CF with moderately good range makes.

Not from where he was when the ball was hit.
jmoney - Monday, June 15 2009 @ 05:55 PM EDT (#201362) #
I don't think I was supposed to have expectations for the Jays this year so I don't. It does warm my heart a little to see fans annoyed with Wells putrid effort.
snider - Monday, June 15 2009 @ 08:23 PM EDT (#201365) #
Does anyone where Wells is looking when he stares off into space after he strikes out to end a game/rally?  He did it again the other day.  I was wondering if he was looking to see what inning it was (game was over) or if he was admiring his picture on the scoreboard. 
greenfrog - Monday, June 15 2009 @ 08:35 PM EDT (#201366) #
I wonder whether Wells overtrained in the off-season. He looks a bit bulky and seems to be trying to muscle the ball, instead of using a fluid swing and quiet upper body to generate power (see: Lind, Adam). He's also pulling everything and seems unable to control the strike zone. If memory serves, he used to be able to hit line drives the other way, at least sometimes (I could be wrong about this).

In any case, I agree that his performance this year has been alarming. Based on the relatively small sample of games I've watched, his defense has been underwhelming too.

He's had some horrendous starts in his career, so maybe he can still get it going. But that contract...yikes. If the Jays sign Doc for another five years (at, say, $100M) and *he* goes into a precipitous decline, the Jays could be a non-contender from now until 2015.
Gerry - Monday, June 15 2009 @ 09:09 PM EDT (#201367) #
Michael Barrett played and caught for Dunedin tonight.  He caught six innings and went 0-2.
chris_jays - Monday, June 15 2009 @ 09:17 PM EDT (#201369) #
Barret catching for Dunedin could actually be a pleasant surprise if he comes back soon.

Barajas and Chavez are doing nothing with the bat right now and maybe the time is right for a nice hot streak by Barret to grab the starters role

Any thoughts?

Mike Green - Monday, June 15 2009 @ 09:26 PM EDT (#201370) #
I repeat.  Wells' W/K rates are entirely normal for him.  23/30 is actually pretty good.  The problem is that he is popping up more than he normally does (and that is a lot), and not hitting homers. Hitting the ball in the air should be a net positive for him.  This year it is not. 
greenfrog - Monday, June 15 2009 @ 10:40 PM EDT (#201371) #
"23/30 is actually pretty good."

Agreed, although since April (177 PA), his BB:K ratio is 13:24, which isn't exactly good (although it's about normal for Wells). In any case, controlling the strike zone isn't only about maintaining an tolerable BB:K ratio. For example, player A adjusts to an outside pitch by driving it to right-center (which is what Rolen and Scutaro have been doing for much of the season). Player B continually tries to pull the ball and grounds out to short or 3B. None of these ABs result in a walk or a strikeout, but they're still about controlling the zone. So in my mind, there is more to the picture than just BB:K, or getting unlucky with popups instead of hits.

I could be wrong--I don't have the stats to back me up. Wells could be having great ABs and unlucky results that will even out over time. I'm just generalizing based on my observations.
jgadfly - Tuesday, June 16 2009 @ 12:04 AM EDT (#201372) #

           Perhaps Wells' shoulder is acting up again and he is still trying to be the cleanup #4 HR guy. He puts alot of pressure on himself. Maybe he should just back off a bit (a la Scott Rolen) and settle for singles and doubles until the pitchers adjust to his new approach. Right now they seem to just throw him high out of the zone fastballs or anything that starts out looking good and ends up wide . He seems to be swinging at more bad pitches and those swings seem to occur increasingly in proportion with the number of men on base and the importance of the atbat ... FWIW

brent - Tuesday, June 16 2009 @ 12:53 AM EDT (#201374) #

Anyone who has not been to Fangraphs, you need to go now to look at stats. Here is the link for Vernon

If it were his shoulder, I would be so much more angry at JP for that huge contract. The Jays have admitted they knew about the shoulder before they offered him that monster contract. I still think it is his wrist that has sapped his power (remember Overbay, anyone?). I had been constantly going over this since Overbay broke his hand and now his power has returned. It takes time to get over these injuries. People were talking before about Overbay's slump- it wasn't a slump; it was his power being sapped. People talk about Vernon being in a slump. IT IS NOT A SLUMP!  Changing his stance or something is not going to fix him.

johnny was - Tuesday, June 16 2009 @ 01:19 AM EDT (#201375) #
JP saying that Vernon Wells wasn't worth "Carlos Beltran money" was the understatement of the century, but what's done is done.

Moving along, RJ Swindle needs to be brought into this organization post haste:

AWeb - Tuesday, June 16 2009 @ 10:38 AM EDT (#201381) #
Wells has been a completely useless player so far this year. His hitting could still turn around, since we've all seem long slumps before, but the problem with Wells is that he has entire bad years (like 2007) where he never seems to figure it out or make the adjustments necessary to get around whatever injuries he might be suffering through. Rolen isn't the hitter he once was, and has issues, but he has managed to re-invent himself. Wells is getting retired on fastballs this year. That's not a good sign - Overbay in 2007 (wrist issue comparisons) was getting hurt by off-speed pitches. Obviously, different hitters react differently to injury, but when the way to get a major league hitter out becomes "throw him fastballs", that's really, really bad. Not every pitcher can exploit a weakness for curves, or splitters, but there aren't many major league pitchers unable to pitch with their fastball.

And then there is the defense. It's bad. A few good plays aside, Wells just isn't catching very many balls anymore that seem like hits when they leave the bat. His UZR is horrid (dead last), his Range Factor is terrible (2nd worst in majors), his Zone Rating is terrible (2nd worst again). In-season fielding stats have some issues, but Wells is no longer the very good CF he was in 2004, or the passable version from a couple years ago. He's been bad in the field this year and last.  Awful. Other players with similar UZR fielding values from this year: Jose Guillen, Delmon Young, Adam Dunn, Andre Ethier. It's silly to pretend this isn't happening, or isn't a major problem, or somehow stats are able to pick out other bad fielders everyone knows about but are somehow missing Wells (unlike earlier years, when he fared well by this measure).

Wells has been below replacement level with both the glove and the bat, and among the handful of worst players in the majors this year. I don't know what to do, since no one would take that contract, but something...I vote for when Snider is healthy, Rios moves to centre, and Wells moves to a platoon with Snider.

Mike Green - Tuesday, June 16 2009 @ 11:08 AM EDT (#201383) #
You could do that.  In light of the huge investment that the club has in Wells, wouldn't it make more sense to make him an everyday leftfielder and hope that he returns to his career norms with the bat?
AWeb - Tuesday, June 16 2009 @ 12:32 PM EDT (#201388) #
If I platooned Snider with Wells, that frees up some DH time for one or the other too, maybe start  Wells as the DH. But I don't think  letting Wells play the field at all is a great idea at this point. He's never really played there, and a terrible CF does not a good corner outfielder make. It hasn't gotten this bad for Wells yet, but Griffey Jr. didn't go from a really bad CF to a good RF, he still stunk. I'd rather have Snider playing the field than Wells. I realize that must sound crazy to some...but the Wells we knew is gone, and not likely to come back (prove me wrong, Vernon!).

Mike Green - Tuesday, June 16 2009 @ 01:16 PM EDT (#201390) #
Snider played the outfield better than I thought he would.   He has a terrific arm, and would make a natural right-fielder. As between Wells and Lind in left-field, I'd take Wells. 
Glevin - Tuesday, June 16 2009 @ 02:09 PM EDT (#201394) #
"It's silly to pretend this isn't happening, or isn't a major problem, or somehow stats are able to pick out other bad fielders everyone knows about but are somehow missing Wells (unlike earlier years, when he fared well by this measure). "

I think sometimes defensive stats do that. However, with watching Wells over the last few years, his defensive decline is obvious. It's really not surprising either based on his age, and yes, even his body type. Wells has always been a hard player to predict. Most players have trends. Wells' OPS+ in his career as a full-timer. 96, 132, 105, 104, 129, 85, 121, and now 75.
Chuck - Tuesday, June 16 2009 @ 02:13 PM EDT (#201395) #

While the "Wells sucks" meme is prevalent throughout Blue Jay fandom, it is not a position that leaves room for much interesting conversation or reasonable debate.

First off, I think the issue of his paycheque has to be separated from the issue of his performance.

A gold glove version of a 350/550 Wells may be worth $18M (and it may not), but the ink is dry and the cost is sunk. He's going to get all the money he signed for. There's no turning the clock back there. Nor is there any likelihood, at all, of finding someone to assume the lion's share of the contract.

Insulting Wells for the organization's gaffe in overpaying him is absurd. So while his fat paycheque will serve to (a) fuel fans' disdain for the man and (b) indirectly drive the organization into personnel decisions that are not purely objective (i.e., batting him third, playing him in centerfield), all that really merits debate is what to do with the man.

First off, who is he? Is he the next incarnation of Andruw Jones, i.e., a man who has not just declined but fallen off a cliff? Or is he really an 800 OPS (his career rate) hitter who is just in a slump? Or is the truth somewhere in between?

Is he masking another injury, as he is wont to do? Or have his skills simply atrophied over the winter?

And what of his defense? I think he's been carrying the gold glove reputation for longer than was fair and has been in decline for a while, popular perceptions notwithstanding. This year, of course, things have looked disastrous both subjectively and objectively. A Wells/Rios flip-flop would appear to be in order, but Rios doesn't help force the issue with his never ending stream of brain farts.

Now, what does the organization do? Wells has had success as recently as last August/September, so he's not exactly a man with no recent track record. He's not Buck Coats, say, stinking it up, forcing a dismissal from the lineup. So he does warrant the opportunity to find himself. But the organization is trapped, in a sense. They have painted Wells as the (non-pitching) face of the team. They have invested a great deal of money that they are going to try very hard to get value from (rightly or wrongly). Wells gets to bat in a sexy spot in the order and on defense gets to play a sexy position. Do you move the face of the team to the 8-hole? Do you move him to a corner outfield spot? How does the organization reconcile these seemingly obvious personnel moves with the mythical/marketing role Wells is expected to play?

I don't pretend to have any idea on where Wells' true abilities lie at the moment (that might make an interesting poll question: what OPS will Wells put up from now until the end of the season?). I do know that the organization may be facing some tough decisions, if perhaps only diminishing Wells' role on the team. And I do know that the howling in the blogosphere and the ad hominem attacks are nowhere close to ending. That the man's on-field performance is somehow seen as reflective of his character boggles my mind (and I'm the farthest thing in the world from a Wells apologist -- I was no fan of the contract from the very start).

Mike Green - Tuesday, June 16 2009 @ 02:29 PM EDT (#201396) #
The closest recent comp that I can think of would be Andre Dawson, who lost range in his late 20s and was moved to a corner. Wells' skills are pretty similar to Dawson's, but pitched a little lower.  It seems to me that 5 years of 1.5-1.8 WAR performance would be reasonable to expect from him as a corner OF. 
Dewey - Tuesday, June 16 2009 @ 02:56 PM EDT (#201397) #
"While the "Wells sucks" meme is prevalent throughout Blue Jay fandom, it is not a position that leaves room for much interesting conversation or reasonable debate."

Nice post, Chuck.  A relief from some of the blatherers.
jmoney - Tuesday, June 16 2009 @ 05:49 PM EDT (#201403) #
Unfortunately, a fan can't really seperate Wells salary from his performance. Reason being, that his contract will be one of the larger reasons the Jays will maintain a level of mediocrity going forward.

Its rather unfortunate for we the fans.

Parker - Tuesday, June 16 2009 @ 06:03 PM EDT (#201404) #

If any anger is justified, it should be directed at the organization for handing out that massive boondoggle of a contract in the first place.  Don't blame VW for taking the money, blame J.P. Ricciardi for throwing it away.  Once again my biggest criticism of the Jays' GM seems applicable: Poor performance = bad luck.  Exceptional performance = player's true level of ability.  J.P. saw a guy he thought was a 300/350/550 hitter with Gold Glove defence in CF, and paid him accordingly.  Unfortunately for the team and the fans, J.P. was mistaken quite badly.

None of this is Vernon's fault, though.

jerjapan - Tuesday, June 16 2009 @ 06:48 PM EDT (#201407) #
I agree with Parker ... JP deserves more of the fans frustration over Wells, although that was quite some time ago in GM years ...

But to be fair, I don't see any hostility being directed at Wells the person in these posts ... just Wells the player.  As fans, we have every right to diss his play - it's arguably why we aren't leading the division right now.  As a person, I think most of us would agree that he seems like a stand-up guy, and we are all pulling for him.

China fan - Tuesday, June 16 2009 @ 07:11 PM EDT (#201409) #
We still don't know if it was Ricciardi or Paul Godfrey who pushed for the Wells contract.  If I recall rightly, there's a very plausible school of thought that it was Godfrey who imposed it on Ricciardi, with the mistaken notion that it would be a good way to build long-term loyalty from the fans....
CeeBee - Tuesday, June 16 2009 @ 07:42 PM EDT (#201410) #
Chuck, thanks for some sanity in the seemingly bizarre Vernon Wells debate. I can't say I disagree with anything you said. Hopefuly Vernon will find his batting stroke and maybe find a spot in left field or even right field if the powers that be see fit. Unfortunately because of the huge monitary investment it will be exceedingly difficult for management to move him out of center at least in the forseable future.
TamRa - Wednesday, June 17 2009 @ 12:03 AM EDT (#201425) #
The problem I have with the ongoing "Wells sucks and we are stuck with 20 mil a year for a .700 hitter" meme is that there is no reason whatsoever to assume Wells will be this bad even the rest of this year and even less to assume he will be so in perpituity.

There are many historical examples to the contrary.

there's also no reason to assume the Jays will allow there spending to be inhibited by the existance of Wells' deal - for all we know the whole discussion of $120 million is predicated in the team knowing what Wells will cost.

In other words, it is a "writ large" version of the same syndrome that I see plague so very many baseball fans, perhaps all sports fans, and seems to be epidemic among Jays fans - making long term claims about short term issues.

For many, it's not enough to say "Wells is sucking hard RIGHT NOW" - we must say "look what a stinker we are stuck with for the next five years" as if the current level of production can be extrapolated.

That happens with Rios (who's really only had a couple of pretty short bad stretches) or writing off Romero/Purcey/ whoever as a complete bust every time they struggle a few times...or whoever...I remember when Hill started his second season in a slump - he's following Adams down the drain....I think of Zaun haters and Frasor haters and Overbay haters and get the idea.

Gets kinda tedious, IMO.

Parker - Wednesday, June 17 2009 @ 01:53 AM EDT (#201430) #

We still don't know if it was Ricciardi or Paul Godfrey who pushed for the Wells contract.

That's fair.  It's true that Ricciardi might not have been the final decision-maker, and I'm more than willing to give him a free pass on this one if that's the case.  However, it does seem to fit his modus operandi of buying high.

Out of curiosity, how common is it for a team to extend the contract of a very-good-but-not-quite-a-star player before the final year of the previous contract?  I don't mean the buying out of arbitration years; only guys who've already signed a contract and are offered a new one with at least a year remaining on the old agreement.

Parker - Wednesday, June 17 2009 @ 02:37 AM EDT (#201432) #

...there is no reason whatsoever to assume Wells will be this bad even the rest of this year and even less to assume he will be so in perpituity.

With regards to his hitting, I agree fully.  After the hamstring injury last year, Wells came back to hit 318/365/566. This is remarkably close to his "good season" average, so I don't think he's having any trouble with his wrist.  I would theorize that whatever extra work he's been doing since last October has done him more harm than good, but it's possible that's not a significant factor and Vernon's struggles this year are just a half-season swoon based on a mix of bad luck and pressing for hits.  Last year Wells had a much stronger second half.  Granted, his first half wasn't anywhere near this bad, but the season isn't yet a complete write-off for him.

On the other hand, I'm much more skeptical about a recovery in defence.  Aging and that wonky hamstring have likely combined to permanently impair his range, and while it seems plausible that his hitting issues are all in his head, his declining defensive ratings have a more obvious cause.

I'm all for playing him full-time in left field and giving him occasional days off against lefties for now.  I don't think a full-blown platoon is the solution at this point if he's to salvage any confidence at all from being moved out of CF - If that's even possible at this point.  I think he has to be moved down in the batting order though.  If he continues to struggle and the Jays allow him to bat third all season, the organization is going to look as incompetent as the Mariners did last year with their Designated "Hitter" fiasco.

Pistol - Thursday, June 18 2009 @ 04:38 PM EDT (#201538) #
Apparently we know who isn't reading this!
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